St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The debate on whether or not to decriminalize marijuana is expected to intensify, now that a Marijuana Commission has been established by the government.
Widespread discussion on the subject is expected, with key sectors and others being asked to make their contribution.
One Rastafarian, Shawn “Natural Mystic” Joseph, argues that decriminalizing doesn’t go far enough – he wants marijuana legalized.
“I think they should fully legalize it not decriminalize it, because they could still prosecute you. So I think that they should use it for medical purposes and even give rastas the right to use it because rastas use it for sacrament. I think to a certain extent they have it legal on the street for those who use it in the right manner, cause some of the youths use it and they give the Rastafarians who not doing any crimes a bad name in the public.”
Others in the Rastafarian community continue to press for the drug to be decriminalized.
“I think it shall be decriminalized in the sense that it doesn’t really make any sense criminalizing people for just a plant.”
One young police officer has also weighed in on the debate.
“They need to look at it on a whole for the decriminalization in terms of how much someone can be able to use it. If it’s going to be decriminalized you won’t want people to be vanishing around town smoking marijuana. If you are going to decriminalize it you could get revenue from it in terms of who could be able to grow, business licenses and who will be able to use the substance and in what quantity one can have in possession at any given time. Once you cannot come to terms then the decriminalization would be a long drawn out process but for it to come to fruition then you need to have that ground set as to how you are going to go about decriminalization.”
Marijuana is classified as a dangerous drug – however Rastafarians say they have problems with that classification.
“Marijuana is a plant in its natural form, God created something that is useful to your body, it’s when man take this plant and process it and makes it into a drug that is dangerous.”
The police officer who spoke to WINN FM says he is concerned about marijuana being abused.
He says that could become even more commonplace if the ganja is decriminalized.
“Well even without it being decriminalized its being abused and yes, once its decriminalized it could be abused even more than now and you have to look at the youths as well who are being discouraged from using it because it’s illegal. So now it’s being decriminalized then you’ll have more youths getting involved in using the substance and you have to look at the impact that it will have on our society not just now but in the future to come.”